Friday 10th August, Beloit, Wisconsin

In 1964, New York’s World’s Fair was held in  Flushing Meadow. A number of the American states exhibited, but it is only Wisconsin’s display that is now remembered by a friend with whom Catriona and I had dinner on Tuesday evening before we left Kentucky. What Barry remembered was the so-called ‘world’s biggest cheese’, which filled the trailer of an articulated truck. Fans of the Green Bay Packers, Wisconsin’s football team, are still called ‘cheeseheads’ and wear foam cheese wedges on their heads at games. But that’s enough about Wisconsin as we are leaving today and heading south to ‘The Big Easy’, New Orleans. This will be a two stage journey and we’ll be stopping overnight in Arkansas along the way.

For the last couple of nights we have been staying in a classic motel – the sort where your car is parked outside your front door. The motel’s restaurant is called ‘Road Dawg’ and has a large model bulldog outside. It has been a real Americana experience.

I met with Paul, a Methodist minister and a chaplain to the FBI for a chat yesterday morning and the evening before we had dinner with Hugh and his family. The last time we had seen Hugh was at his wedding in London before he moved over here with his American wife, so it was good to reconnect.

After meeting Paul, we had a day of admin and reflection. Most people reading this will now know that we had a call from our daughter on Wednesday morning to say that my mother had died in hospital. On Thursday morning, we heard from the home where Catriona’s mother lives that her health had deteriorated since we have been away. We are grateful for all the kind words and prayers that have been offered to us at this time.

Wildlife update: It is disappointing to report that Hugh’s overly excited Golden Retriever is the best I can offer in this report. I have high hopes for New Orleans and Texas.